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WAR REQUIEM

Analysis on Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem"
by

Carmen Camey

on 25 February 2013

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Transcript of WAR REQUIEM

WAR REQUIEM Benjamin Britten By Benjamin Britten, op.66,
Premiere 30. May 1962 for the consacration of the new Coventry Cathedral
A work for two choirs, orchestra organ and 3 soloists War Requiem MUSICAL IDEAS THERE ARE SIX MOVEMENTS:
REQUIEM AETERNAM
DIES IRAE
OFFERTORIUM
SANCTUS
AGNUS DEI
LIBERA ME IT IS A LATIN REQUIEM MASS INFLUENCES AND IDEAS 19TH Century
Verdi’s Requiem
Burial Service
The ‘Wingrave usage’
Gamelan music- Britten in 1956 was largely influenced from his visit to Indonesia. Imagery/ Word Painting Requiem Aeternam
- ‘demented choirs of wailing shells
- batterfields
Dies Irae
- Day of Judgement
- the bugles which are now ‘saddening the evening air’ and ‘sorrowful to hear’
-soldiers manic whristling

Offertorium – As the angel appears
The unual meter 7/4- “crippled march” Use of the TRITONE Heard in Isolation
C and F sharp are the focal points
Also used into two minor thirds= diminised triad
Symbol of war
These 3 whole tone steps also form the first four notes of the Lydian Mode Pacifism Pacifism is a commitment to peace and opposition to war.
Rejects war as an acceptable means for obtaining peace. Pacifists will often refuse to serve in the military. "Above all I am not concerned with Poetry. My subject is War, and the pity of War.
The Poetry is in the pity…
All a poet can do today is warn".

-Owen Despite his strong pacifist beliefs, he felt obliged to enlist in the war. He was "Britten's soldier". Britten's Requiem has intersections of 9 war poems by W. Owen "The whole of my life has been devoted to acts of creation (being by profession a composer) and I cannot take part in acts of destruction". -B. Britten Music in a moral key Work as "a call for peace".
His central concern was also War; War and the victims of War.
He wanted a hand in least subverting, the institutions that preserved war. He chose the Church and its great musical form to represent all the sanctified institutions which allow the Nations to send sons off to die.
He challenged Christianity's celebration of life after death: the Mass for the Dead. A Requiem Mass usually ends on a positive note (because death is the start of a New Life).
Britten did not give this hope in his Requiem:
"For these soldiers in the foxholes, sleep is but a brief respite from the finality of death; there is no step into eternal life on that killing field. The male soloists continue to sing “let us sleep now” while the boys' chorus and then the adult chorus begin the Latin burial text:In paradisum deducant te angeli"
(Arthur Colman) Death seen as finality Standford enciclopedia of philosophy: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pacifism/
Arthur Colman's site: http://www.arthurcolman.com/m_britten.html
Britten War Requiem by Mervyn Cooke, published by Cambridge Music Handbook
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~tan/Britten/britwar.html ( internet resource)- Benjamin Britten's War  
Requiem :http://www.haverford.edu/engl/english354/GreatWar/Requiem/WarRequiempage.html (internet resource) Bibliography To give a special emphasis to the thaught of pacifism, Britten dedicated the solo parts to singers of 3 different countries which were enemies in WW2
To the russian soprano Galina Vishnievskaya, was not given permission to sing in the premiere by her government The Vishnievskaya-affair BENJIMIN BRITTEN. “A WORK FOR AN OCCASSION” 2 CHOIRS (CHORUS AND BOYS CHOIR)

SOPRANO SOLOIST

TENOR SOLOIST

BARITONE SOLOIST WHO FOR WHO? LT WILFRED EDWARD SALTER OWEN. ANTHEM FOR DOOMED YOUTH
VOICES
THE NEXT WAR
SONNET ON SEEING A PIECE OF OUR HEAVY ARTILARY BROUGHT INTO ACTION
FUTILITY
THE PARABLE OF THE OLD MAN AND THE YOUNG
THE END
AT A CALVARY NEAR THE ANCRE
STRANGE MEETING 9 POEMS WWI

WWII EVENTS LEADING UP...
Full transcript